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George Green: Nottingham’s Magnificent Mathematician

We don’t regard him as a miller, I’m afraid, we regard him as a very eminent mathematician whose work today is still being used in major industries and concerns.

– George Saunders, descendant of George Green, on being asked a question about bags of flour on the Alan Clifford show on BBC Radio Nottingham of 11th September 2014 (starts approx. 1:16).

The above quote is from a short interview with George Saunders and Kathryn Summerwill on BBC local radio about George Green. Green, of whom you may have heard, was a mill-owner in Nottingham and a genius mathematical physicist. The interview marks the opening of an exhibition, curated by Kathryn, ‘George Green: Nottingham’s Magnificent Mathematician‘ in the Weston Gallery at the Lakeside Arts Centre, University of Nottingham.

I was pleased to attend the opening of the exhibition and meet some of the people involved, including Lawrie Challis. You can’t read much about Green without coming across Lawrie, who has written on Green himself and led a campaign to restore the mill in the 1970s and 80s when a rumour emerged that the City was thinking of demolishing the derelict. The exhibition is fantastic, with many interesting items from the university’s Manuscripts and Special Collections archive relating to various aspects of Green’s life and works.

As well as the exhibition, there are three lunchtime talks on aspects of Green’s life, though I wouldn’t bother with the third one if I were you.

  1. George Green and his Mill‘ by Tom Huggon, Chairman of the Friends of Green’s Mill, Wednesday 1st October, 1-2pm;
  2. George Green’s Contribution to MRI‘ by Roger Bowley, Emeritus Professor in the School of Physics, University of Nottingham, Tuesday 21st October, 1-2pm;
  3. George Green’s Mathematical Influences‘ by Peter Rowlett, some guy, Wednesday 12th November, 1-2pm.

The talks are free and take place in the theatre adjacent to the exhibition, but you must book a ticket in advance by phoning the Box Office on 0115 846 7777.

The wonderful Theorem of the Day website marked the opening of the exhibition on 12th September 2014 by featuring Green’s Theorem. The exhibition is open until Sunday 4th January 2015.

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